Wilkes-Barre Credit Union: Not Related? or Family Affair?
The Wilkes-Barre City Employees Federal Credit Union recently became the focal point of an FBI investigation into public corruption, according to Sean Quinn, new director of the FBI’s Scranton office. The investigation grabbed local headlines following the death of Jim Payne, longtime manager of the credit union. Payne was found dead in his Bear Creek Township home in early March. The cause of death has been reported by the Pennsylvania State Police as a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The Wilkes-Barre City Employees Federal Credit Union serves employees of Wilkes-Barre City, Wilkes-Barre Township, Plains Township and their families.
Mayor Tom Leighton has adamantly denied the existence of a relationship between the credit union and city. In fact, in previous statements to the press, Leighton has claimed, “The credit union has no affiliation or relationship to city government. It is independent from city government, and just rents space in city hall.”
The credit union does indeed rent space — operating from the first floor of Wilkes-Barre City Hall — at a rate of $750 per month, according to city records. The credit union had been employing three, all of whom related to city employees.
Employees of the Wilkes-Barre City Employees Federal Credit Union as of March 1, 2014:
The late Jim Payne, manager — Married to Cathy Macko Payne, Assistant City Clerk
Amanda Magda Plisko, clerk — Niece of Cathy Macko Payne, Assistant City Clerk
Debbie Polacheck, clerk — Married toWilkes-Barre City firefighter Joseph Polacheck
Board Members of the Wilkes-Barre City Employees Federal Credit Union as of March 1, 2014:
George Soltis, chairman — Former city firefighter
Alfred Cibello, vice chairman — Former city firefighter
Christopher Buchanan, board secretary/treasurer — Current city firefighter
Laura Brace, board member — Married to William Brace, former city administrator
Richard Muessig, board member — Former city administrator
Arthur Kemmerer, board member — Former city police officer
Benedict Victor, board member — Former city police officer
Phillip Latinski, board member — Former city councilman, former Wilkes-Barre Area School District board member
Sean Chandler, board member — Current city paramedic
Melissa Schatzel, supervisory committee member — Former city human resources director
Gary Guesto, supervisory committee chairman — Former city firefighter
Jeanmarie Majikes Ryan, supervisory committee member — Married to James Ryan, city clerk